Bleached – ‘Ride Your Heart’

Classic tales of heartbreak belie the West Coast sunshine

Since the dawn of the teenager, California girls have had a pretty decent time of it. From The Beach Boys’ worshipping of such confident beach-dwelling creatures to the championing of Haim and Best Coast, it’s as if there’s never been a bad time to be a lady from the Golden State. Yet the Los Angeles-dwelling sister act that make up Bleached show us that behind the glossy locks and perfect teeth lurks a sadness that no amount of margarita mix and burger grease can wash away.

Despite the warm riffs and Sun-In licks, ‘Ride Your Heart’ is a record that deals with romantic rejection and the complex aftermath of love gone wrong. It would be easy to let Jennifer and Jessica Clavin’s syrupy girl-group melodies and alt.’80s guitar grooves fool you otherwise, but this is heavy stuff. ‘Outta My Mind’ will chime with anyone who’s ever obsessed over a crush to the point where every waking moment is consumed by them, while the thundering ‘Dead In Your Head’ and its cooed regrets such as “I never wanted to hurt the boy I loved the most” cut to the bone.

Like most of the tracks on this debut, the swooning ‘Searching Through The Past’ is directed at an ex-paramour. Impressing with its unreconstructed Fleetwood Mac guitar solo and ‘Tusk’-worthy bluntness, its valiant lack of flash is echoed in the short, sharp punk-rock repetition of ‘Waiting By The Telephone’, which conjures up The Donnas and their trashy, gum-snapping take on Joey Ramone’s adolescent angst.

An album as classic as its faultless Thelma & Louise-ian artwork, the universal themes of ‘Ride Your Heart’ manage to transcend the dated California girl stereotype while knowingly plugging into what still makes the myth so appealing.

Leonie Cooper